Ms. Marvel, a new superhero or rather a super heroine is all set to hit the newspaper koisks in January, 2014. Ms. Marvel, who is a Pakistani-American teenager( 16 years old to be exact) will replace her icon Carol Danvers, who now goes by the name of Captain Marvel.
According to the creator of this brand new superheroine, Sana Amanat, herself a Pakistani-American, the idea of Ms. Marvel cropped up when she was having a casual chit chat with the senior editor at the Marvel Comics, Steve Walker. Sana Amanat told the press that,”He was interested in the dilemma I faced as a young girl and the next day he came in and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a superhero that was for all the little girls that grew up just like you, and who are growing up just like you are today, and to create a character they can be inspired by.”
Kamala Khan is a normal teenager hailing from Jersey city, doing all the normal stuff, attending school, playing , partying and gossiping, all the usual pastimes of a girl her age but this is only a veil beyond which a superheroine lurks. Fighting villains is the secondary part of her life. Her real struggle is fighting and trying to adjust with an ultra conservative household. Nothing out of the blue, as she is constantly being harangued by a paranoid mother, who is under the illusion that Kamala will one day get pregnant, even if a boy touches her. A father that wants to see his daughter become a doctor and a brother who is most of the times objecting to the way she dresses, her make up and about the boys at the school that stare at her in a way he does not approve, though, he has no qualms about the girl or girl friends in his life. In short, Kamala faces the generic brand of hypocrisy that any other Pakistani or for that matter Indian American female teen has to deal on a daily basis growing up in America.
Kamala or Ms. Marvel is a polymorph, that is, she has the superhuman abilities to change her shape, and the ability to lengthen her arms and legs. Ms Amanat says that the character is not about being a Muslim or an American, instead it is about the trials and travails of a young woman growing up, and discovering her true identity, that of being a superhuman, and the way she uses her powers for the good of the community she lives in.
The other team members working in collaboration with Ms. Amanat are writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphono. G. Willow Wilson, though not a Pakistani, is a Muslim herself, so she understands much of what Amanat is striving at through this character.
Talking purely in business terms, Ms. Marvel is an attempt by the Marvel Comics to tap into a broad base of readers, especially people belonging to the Indo-Pak subcontinent and the Muslim community as a whole. After the Malala Khan saga now brace yourself for the adventures of Kamala Khan, or more appropriately Ms. Marvel.
By: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada.